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Early Mitchell BNC Blimp "Logos"


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#1 Theo Wilhelm

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 12:44 PM

Those of us who know Mitchell BNC, are familiar with the deeply engraved "MITCHELL" name on the main blimp housing. I have recently acquired BNC number 32 which was the first one produced after they returned to normal production after Word War II. The BNC's that I have always seen have been much higher in the production numbers and I was surprised to see number 32 with a polished "MITCHELL" name area (instead of a back background and deeply grooved name, it is a very shallow thinly etched name).

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My first thought was that sometime in its life, someone polished the name area for "looks" or they needed to bring down the clearance area for some unknown device that fitted too close to the viewing tube bulge. I was considering repainted the area and milling the name groves back to original factory condition when it occurred to me that this may have been a short lived feature that was eventually dropped and they moved to the black/deep grooved logo for future runs.

So I'm wondering if we have any DP's or camera operators who might have worked with very early BNC cameras that might be able to speak as to if this was ever part of the standard BNC appearance. Thanks in advance!

Theo Wilhelm
San Francisco
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#2 Marc Alucard

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 01:14 PM

That looks like it was milled off at some time. A number of rental houses and shops added their own nameplate where the Mitchell logo is.

Is the camera still a rackover and not reflexed?

What does the little plate under the follow focus / viewfinder parallax's helical thread say?

Does the movement number match?

Where did the camera come from?

Sorry to answer your question with more questions.
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#3 Theo Wilhelm

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 04:55 PM

Hello Marc and thanks for the reply. I bought this BNC from a collector as a display camera. It is only complete from the exterior with no camera movement box inside the main blimp. It nice for a display because to the novice, it appears working as it has all the exterior components including bellows matte box group, external viewfinder (with parallax cams), 50mm Baltar lens, working follow focus, 1,000 foot magazine blimp and motor blimp. But unfortunately for me, they are non-matching numbers. The viewfinder is mint and has "BNC 109" stenciled on it. The main camera blimp housing has "BNC 32" molded inside the casting near the dissolve window and the follow focus plate next to the helical thread has "31" stamped on it. It's a rack over with a working L bed and rack over handle.

There are a number of working features that I thought I would share with interested BNC collector members such as the FOX optical blooper "take number" feature and a built-in heater. I'll be posting a thread on this with detailed pictures. It's quite a wild looking BNC. I thought about buying a camera box and racking it in but the strength of this unit is as a display (because of the non-matching numbers).

Still trying to decide if I should return the milled logo name area to original. Any thoughts on this from fellow members would be highly appreciated.

Theo Wilhelm
San Francisco
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#4 Theo Wilhelm

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Posted 05 January 2008 - 07:19 PM

I'm preparing to mill the MITCHELL name back on and I just disassembled the Blimp Door.

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Here's a shot of the corduroy interior of the door. It has that old "been there, done that" smell.

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The Buckle Release plunger comes with the whole affair but none of the follow focus is attached. When I first looked at it to figure out how it came apart, the follow focus rods and gears are so tightly packed that I was surprised it all stayed in place and the blimp door came off around it.

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Wish me luck,
Theo
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#5 Theo Wilhelm

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 03:02 PM

Just a quick update on my project. I brought the blimp door to a number of machinists here in San Francisco and nobody wanted to touch it. Who knew it would be this hard? So I gave up and I'm having a plastic name plate cut to the same outline and the same depth that was previously milled off. It should look very close to what the factory BNC blimp door with MITCHELL name, looked like. Thanks for the help.

Theo
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